Users paying close attention to CA's Linux push

Users of Computer Associates International Inc.'s management products are taking advantage of the company's embrace of the Linux operating system.

This week at the CA World 2003 user event here, the Islandia, N.Y.-based company promoted its focus on open-source technology and even sponsored a Linux forum to highlight the work it has been doing in the field. During the event, Sam Greenblatt, senior vice president and chief architect for CA's Linux Technology Group, reaffirmed the the company's commitment to help "enable Linux to grow," citing efforts to develop Linux-based clustering technology, Web services and storage.

Among the customers exploiting CA's push is Nyfix Inc., a Stamford, Conn.-based provider of financial services that is currently migrating its 400-strong portfolio of Sun Solaris servers over to Linux -- and will need CA to handle the management of those machines. Nyfix is already running some of its CA Unicenter software on Linux, including a tool that handles asset management, said Greg Petras, a systems analyst at Nyfix.

The company expects the migration, which will take a couple of years to complete, to save it hundreds of thousands of dollars.

"Linux gives you a warm, fuzzy feeling," Petras said. Not only is it hardware-platform-independent, but the open-source community in general is more forthright in explaining technical glitches than a vendor would be, he said, noting that his IT staff already has Unix skills that can be easily transferred to Linux.

At the Alexandria, Va.-based National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, CA's support for Linux could provide an alternative to the organization's current server installation, said Chief Technology Officer Rick Minicucci. The center, which acts as a clearinghouse for information, uses Unicenter for things like managing its Web site and also relies on CA's Ingres relational database.

Sun Microsystems Inc. has allowed the agency to use its servers for free, "but if that ends, we can't afford to do that ourselves, and Linux would be the only alternative," Minicucci said.

The Indiana Supreme Court is doing an IT standardization project that relies on CA software and services and is on the cusp of building it around Linux servers, said Kurt Snyder, director of trial court technology at the Indianapolis-based court. While it originally planned to build the project around Sun servers, it has decided to instead go with a Dell Computer Corp./Linux solution for both cost and performance improvements. But it would require additional testing to get the same contractual performance guarantee from CA on Linux, he said.

As a result, Snyder said, he's not yet sure which direction the court will go.

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